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Advice on Mass Merge Method

I have a library of audiobooks that I've been making for a few decades.  Although the vast majority are in MP3 format with various bitrates, in whole, there is a mix of MP3, M4B, M4A, and even WMA and WAV files.

Each audiobook and it's associated files are in their own folders or sub-folders.  I want to take books with multiple files (some of the older CD's split a book into 3 minute chunks) and merge them into a single file, at the original bitrate, in the same folder as the original.  I'd also like to be able to keep at least some of the metadata.

My first thoughts were to first scan the files to see if there are file issues - is that a waste of time?  I remember there being a program once upon a time called MP3DIAG that I used for my music files when they didn't display the correct length.  I have not even looked to see if it's still out there and alive - or if there is a better tool.  I remember some of my books do display oddly - as some of my music did, but as long as it played I didn't care at the time.  Now that I am thinking about joining the files, could there be issues in the end product do to this?

Ideally, I would like to have a automated/semi-automated was to go through my library and get this done for every folder.

It's one thing to do a book or two by hand - which is doable.  But another thing entirely to do hundreds.

So what I'd like is to have much more experienced people put on their thinking caps in regards to hangups and issues I may run into - and suggest the best procedure to get all this done.  Of course, ideally I'd like to not reinvent the wheel here.  I am sure there is somebody out there who has done exactly what I would like to.

What are the pitfalls and best ways to make this happen?

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